So I log into WordPress to write a blog post for the first time in fuckin’ forever, and I’m greeted with a banner telling me:
There’s now an easier way to create on WordPress.com! Switch to the improved posting experience.
I’ve been dodging this “improved” experience for a good four or five years now. Fuck you. I know precisely what I mean to write and how I mean to format it. I don’t need to be kept safe from the details of the Document Object Model. I have learned (some of) that shit, and I give a shit about what I put into it. I don’t want a smart-assed interface making things “easy” for me.
People don’t give nearly enough of a shit about the things we do. Let me illustrate:
I recently got a new job. I’m a programmer. I thought — still think — that I’m a pretty damn good programmer; I’ve been bossing around computers for about twenty years now, am fluent in half a dozen languages and not incompetent in about two dozen more, and have shipped everything from jQuery chat widgets (I swear, that’s the web developer’s “Hello, world!”) to global-market ETL software to fifty thousand lines of standing-on-the-shoulders-of-giants honest to balls research.
In my second interview at this new job, one of the guys asked me to describe inversion of control. I sat there with a stupid look on my face for about five seconds, then admitted I didn’t know but thought it might be related to the dependency-inversion principle from SOLID. They hired me anyway.
Turns out I’d spent the last twelve years not giving nearly as much of a shit about programming as I thought I did. I’d been snug in a little bubble of the same kind of C/C++ I’d learned in 1998 as an undergrad — with the occasional venture out into Haskell; I’m not a total idiot — while unit-testing practices and languages with usable reflection features built a whole new model of object graph creation. (And, for that matter, a whole bunch of other shit I’m desperately trying to upload into my brain.)
I’d been too comfortable, sitting in my own little bubble of “good enough for the moment”, to really stretch the boundaries and get better at what I do every day. That, right there, is what not giving a shit looks like.
Want to witness an enormous crowd of people who don’t give a shit? Get on a bus. Public transit is clogged with herds of people who use it every day but spare no effort to avoid getting better at it. (“How do you ‘get better’ at taking the bus?” Thanks, you’ve proven my point.) I commute with hundreds of people who spend a good ten hours every week on public transit and do their level best to block it out. They don’t find a preferred car on their commuter train; they don’t find travel buddies; they don’t pay attention to which stops immediately precede theirs (or much else). They prefer to wing it, every time, trying desperately to lose themselves in their phones but only adding to the angst of not being in control of their journey.
If you think constant giveashit — “You really expect me to pay attention to, and try to get better at, everything I do regularly?!” — is exhausting, try living with the fear, uncertainty, and doubt of constantly being a fucking-up noob. Oh wait, you probably already do.
Tomorrow’s Monday. Pay attention. Give a shit.